MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Last Thursday’s winter storm caused severe damage to several enclosures at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minn.

Fortunately, none of the cats were hurt when the enclosures came crashing down under the weight of the wet, heavy snow.

The destruction, however, has left two dozen hybrid cats in temporary homes, and the sanctuary has since been unable to take in new cats that need a home.

“It was unprecedented in what we’ve seen in the 13 years in running the sanctuary, with how much snow and how heavy it was and how fast it came down,” said Tammy Thies, the sanctuary’s executive director.

Pictures show how the weight of the snow left the enclosures twisted out of shape, some were down to just a foot off the ground.

“Every animal was safe and secure…there is a building attached to every enclosure so all the animals were warm inside their buildings,” Thies said.

Volunteers were on site just as soon as the snow stopped.

“We had volunteers here with tractors, ATVs with plows, digging us out, repairing enclosures. You can see already, in such a short time, how much repair work has happened,” Thies said.

Five enclosures need to be totally rebuilt; nine others need serious repairs. It could take months and about $100,000 to get the sanctuary back to normal.

“As we assess the damage, we’re hoping we can come in under the $100,000,” Thies said.

They hope to build the new enclosures stronger, so that in the event Mother Nature dumps more snow on the sanctuary, it will hold up.

The Wildcat Sanctuary is looking for volunteers as well as financial help. You can help by clicking here.


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